What To Do When Your Basement Floods

By Brian Kondo

Monday, October 16, 2023

What To Do When Your Basement Floods

No one wants it to happen, but it is not uncommon for a basement to flood. Basements flood for a variety of reasons: southern Ontario has a complex system of underground pipes, sewers and catchbasins. Some of these are older than others, and some improvements made to the plumbing of the city cannot guarantee a dry basement all the time. Excessive rain or weather can also factor into why your basement floods.


So what can you do if your basement floods? Here is a quick breakdown:

Immediate Actions

1. Contact your local hydro company immediately. Have them turn off your power to prevent shock, electrocution or any electrical damage if the water has risen above outlets or near the electrical panel.

2. If you believe your flooding could be the result of a sewer backup, stop using any water in your house. This means no toilet flushing, no showers, and no usage of your sinks. This is because any water used may end up in your basement and add to the problem. 3. If you live in Toronto you can also contact the City of Toronto by calling 311 or visiting 311's online service request web page to enter a self-service request. This will allow city officials to come over to your house and assess the flooding and help you determine the source of it. 


If You Have Property Damage


If you have property damage it is important to call your insurance company as soon as possible to report any damage that might have occurred as a direct result of the flooding. Before the insurance people arrive, take many photos at different angles and focuses so that there are time stamps for the insurance company. This will help them determine the level of emergency repair and clean-up work needed. 

If you live in the City of Toronto, you can also submit a claim for property damage to the City of Toronto. Your claim will be forwarded and managed by the City's insurance adjusters. 


If your City or the insurance company determine that the flooding is a result of a private blocked drain pipe, leaking foundation walls or poor lot drainage on your property be prepared for a lot of out of pocket expenses. This is because if the flooding is caused by any of the above reasons, it is your responsibility as well as any subsequent damage caused by the flooding.


Protecting Your Health and Safety


A flooded basement can put you at risk for your health and safety. Many diseases are waterborne, and flooded basement water can also carry corrosive cleaning agents and irritants found in the leftover sludge of a flooded basement. Also, as mentioned above, electrical accidents can occur of water's direct contact with plugs and electrical panels.

When it is safe to do so, consider hiring a professional cleaning company who has experience in cleaning flooded basements to properly sanitize the space and make it ready for home living. In the meantime, keep children and pets out of the affected area until it is safe to re-enter. If you must enter the flooded basement, stay away from electrical equipment and wear protective equipment. 

Flooded basements can be scary but hopefully with this information you will be armed and prepared in the unfortunate and (hopefully rare!) even that it happens.


Thank you for reading today’s BLOG!


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